Friday, in one of several New York County Civil Court buildings in Lower Manhattan, attorneys representing Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim and his beloved Syracuse University will enter the courtroom of Justice Anil Singh . They will be met by MaryAnn Wang, the New York City counsel working with celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred in representing Bobby Davis and Michael Lang.
The hearing will include oral arguments that will offer the first glimpse at the way Justice Singh is viewing this case. The issue at hand tomorrow is whether the court will order Boeheim's attorneys to turn over reams of records including team rosters and current contacts of former players, basketball team travel records and records of any complaints or document acknowledging complaints against either Bernie Fine or his wife Laurie within the Syracuse basketball program.
Boeheim's defense team has rejected the Allred request for those papers while they follow a two piece legal strategy. They want the trial venue changed to Syracuse. They have a hearing in Onondaga County on that issue on February 21st. They also want the New York City judge to dismiss the case under the premise that no defamation occurred because Jim Boeheim was only offering opinion when he initially reacted to the allegations of abuse.
In an eleventh hour filing with the court in the hours leading up to the proceedings Allred's team was critical of the refusal to hand over discovery by Boeheim's lawyers. They wrote: "Rather than simply answer the requests, which ask Defendants to identify individuals whom they believe engaged in sexual relationships with either Bernie or Laurie Fine...and to provide the last-known contact information for team members who were present during a short five-year time period when Plaintiff knows these relationships occurred and were openly being discussed, Defendants choose instead to hide behind arguments that the information is irrelevant and not necessary right now. They are wrong on both counts."
Wang and Allred also attempted to make the Boeheim legal strategy apparent to the court and cast it in a negative light: "Defendants' gamesmanship is transparent. Their priority is to avoid having this Court consider their legal arguments ...even though Defendants have audaciously asserted that their arguments unquestionably will dispose of this case without a single party or witness being deposed regardless of where they are heard. They instead seek to have the Motion to Transfer Venue as a priority so they can enjoy a home court advantage."
So far we have only heard from each side independently. They each have their point of view to sell. Tomorrow a judge becomes engaged. We'll see if that sheds light on how this case could ultimately turn.
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